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Craft a CRM Strategy for Challenging Times

Craft a CRM Strategy for Challenging Times image

As our country grapples with the fallout from COVID-19 (coronavirus), many believe that the economy will soften for the foreseeable future. As savvy investors know, buying defensive stocks provides a steady stream of dividends and stable earnings during challenging economic times. Attorneys should apply a similar strategy by providing extraordinary service to their cash flow-generating clients as part of a key client initiative. Research supports this approach. According to ThinkJar1, it is six to seven times more expensive to attract a new client than it is to retain an existing one, and the probability of selling to an existing client is up to 14 times higher than the probability of selling to a new client.

Know your clients

An often-cited law firm client complaint is that the attorney “doesn’t understand my business.” What does this mean exactly? Despite the attorney’s deep industry, sector, and practice group expertise that is well documented on the firm’s website, there’s another layer of knowledge that often hasn’t been absorbed exhaustively. The attorney needs to clearly convey to her clients that she understands their goals and, most important, is fully prepared to help advance those goals. To do that, the attorney takes a holistic approach to client service, understanding the client’s internal challenges while assessing external opportunities and threats that will progress or potentially derail the firm’s objectives. The attorney should understand input from key client stakeholders—the influencers and decision-makers— and her firm’s touchpoints with those stakeholders, and that’s where a robust CRM strategy can help. A poll of CRM users, cited by Capterra, found that 47 percent of respondents said that CRM usage has a substantial impact on client retention, and an equal percentage said that CRM usage helped with increasing client satisfaction2. Let’s examine how CRM can help in these areas.

Leverage the right tools

CRM is a business strategy that brings together people, processes, and technology with the goal of expanding business opportunities and, if done successfully, revenue. Properly implemented, a CRM can identify:

  • Key clients
  • Decision-makers and influencers at key clients
  • Your firm’s overall touchpoints with key clients
  • Your firm’s level of engagement with key client decision-makers and influencers
  • Key client demographic data

A CRM integration with a time and billing system such as Aderant is critical to knowing who the key clients are based on some measure of billing information, which is typically hidden in CRM but leveraged in contact data flow operations that assign key client designations. Adding responsible and/or billing attorney assignments to clients facilitates additional contact data flows to an attorney’s working list, which can trigger client activity alerts. This allows for the attorney to know not only who her key clients are but also key communication details that her firm has had with them, to ensure a strong relationship going forward. Finally, CRM can surface news and business from a reliable source like Lexis Advance®, so that the attorney is informed of her clients’ external opportunities and threats.

Let’s prepare now by rolling out a robust key client initiative that is enabled by your CRM solution.


1 Morris, Tricia. “It is 6 Times More Expensive to Win a New Customer than to Retain an Existing One. (2016) Retrieved from https://www.business2community.com/strategy/6-times-expensive-win-new-customer-retain-existing-one-01483871

2 Capterra. CRM User Research Infographic: CRM Software Buyer Trends 2015. (2015) “47% of polled CRM users said customer satisfaction was significantly impacted by their CRM in 2015”. Retrieved from https://www.capterra.com/customer-relationship-management-software/user-research-infographic

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About Dr. David Jacobs

Dr. David Jacobs
David has worked in the software industry for the past 20 years and spent the past 14 years at LexisNexis InterAction as a Principal Consultant and Client Advisor. He has implemented InterAction at law and professional services firms and conducted strategy and change management sessions that incorporate a CRM user adoption study that he completed for his doctoral dissertation in 2016. In addition to his doctorate, David has an MBA, MS in Information Systems, and Change Management Certificate from Cornell University. David speaks regularly at legal industry events and CRM user groups. David enjoys living in the Chicago area with his Terrier mix rescue and shares a bond of Marine Corps service with his son.